Grand Canyon-Middle Tiger Loop
It was time for another Wednesday
evening after work hike with the folks from Boeing. Tonight's group consisted
of Gary Westerlund, David Holm, David Gan, and me. We began by hiking to
the Grand Canyon of Fifteen Mile Creek trailhead. This would be the
first of two rest areas complete with rest rooms. The Grand Canyon trail
was a little muddy and became more and more overgrown the farther up we went.
Some brushing is in order. The creek had as much water as I have seen here.
Near the end of the trail we headed steeply up the connector way trail to
the Hobart RR grade. This route is easy to follow. It is slick and muddy
in the beginning but get much better. It is much easier to go up than down.
With our loop trip we would not have to descend it. Although the day was
gray and overcast and it had rained the night before, the brush was not wet.
When we reached the Hobart grade the trail improved a great deal. We turned
to the left and kept moving up the valley of Fifteen Mile Creek. The turnoff
for the Hobart-TMT connector trail is very easy to miss. There is a big stump
and a small sign but low hanging branches make it easy to miss the trail.
This was only my second time on the Hobart grade but Gary has done it more
and knew where the connection was. The connector trail was in good shape
with one exception. A big tree has fallen across the trail hidden a stretch
of it. Proceeding straight up the hillside will bring you back on the trail.
The rest of the way to the TMT was a breeze.
After a quick water break at the TMT (Tiger Mountain
Trail) we turned to the left and headed towards the end of the Fifteen Mile
Creek valley. In only 7/10 of a mile we crossed the creek on the Charles
Custer bridge and shortly met up with the trail to the Tiger Mountain Road.
This short connector comes out at the Paw Print rest area. This was just
about the mid point on our journey. We used the picnic table for a food and
water break and reviewed the map to see where we had been. The next segment
from Paw Print to Middle Tiger Mountain is nearly all on road. We dropped
down a bit then began to climb. After about a mile the gated road heading
up Middle Tiger came in on the right. This road normally gives some of the
best views. We could see downtown Seattle and Puget Sound but could not see
the top of Tiger 1 although it was only a few miles away. The clouds were
now down to near the top of Middle Tiger. At the end of the road we picked
up the Middle Tiger trail. It is a short steep climb to the top. The side
we climbed was clear but the other side was totally in the clouds. Visibility
was hazy on the descent. This was the second time in 4 days I had descended
this trail down Middle Tiger. In half a mile we intersected the TMT. From
there it was another mile down to the West Side Road. The trail down was
in good condition. Just before reaching the road we intersected the Hobart
RR Grade. The last part was a road walk back to the cars. It was nice to
hike a different part of Tiger Mountain. We saw a total of one person on
the trip and that was not far from the start. The totals on the day were
7 miles and 2000' gained.